Claire and Stuart met through mutual friends. “We'd been on a few dates and then when I cooked dinner for Claire one evening, I realised she was the one,” reveals Stuart. When Stuart went on a snowboarding trip with his friends, Claire soon realised her feelings. We spoke to each other for an hour every day as we missed each other so much – it was then I knew I'd fallen in love,” remembers Claire.
Stuart popped the question while the couple were on holiday. “He'd booked a surprise trip to Rome and had even organised time off work for me.
“During the first day we visited the Spanish Steps and I had an inkling Stuart would propose, but it was so busy. In the evening we went out for a meal and, afterwards, Stuart suggested going for a drink at a bar he'd seen near the Steps. He asked me to walk in front of him and, when I turned around, he was down on one knee,” she describes. Claire said 'yes' and when the couple arrived back home, they started to plan their nuptials. Read on for her account of the big day...
We visited St. Augustine's Priory, near Ashford, after a friend recommended it to us. We fell in love with it straight away as it had a church-like feel, but we could have a civil ceremony.
Once my hair was styled and my make-up had been applied I couldn't wait to put my dress on.
My sister Lindsey was my maid-of-honour and I had three bridesmaids: my sister-in-law Lucy, my cousin Carly and friend Anneka.
Stuart wore a traditional morning suit.
I bought my gown by Ellis Bridal from Signature Brides in Hythe. It was the first dress I'd tried on and although I looked at other designs, nothing else compared to it.
My friend's little girl Evie was my flowergirl.
Our ceremony was perfect – it was the best moment of my life marrying the man I love, surrounded by all of our family and friends.
Stuart travelled to the venue in a limousine with his best man Simon and four ushers.
We had two readings during the ceremony. The first was read by our friend Maggie, while the second was a poem written by our friend Louise, and read by my sister Lindsey.
After exchanging vows, all of our guests gathered outside for drinks and canapés. The sun was shining and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves.
I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel's Canon in D Major.
We decided on an Italian wedding breakfast, washed down with Italian wine and prosecco.
Our flowers were beautiful – they were arranged by Victoria Clarke who was recommended to us by the venue. We decided to name our table settings after places in Rome as a nod to where we got engaged.
Our first dance was to Michael Bublé's Everything.
During the evening we danced the night away to a DJ.
We had a three-tiered cake – a top and bottom chocolate layer with a Victoria sponge middle.
We went to Antigua for 10 nights for our honeymoon. We stayed at Hermitage Bay Hotel – it was an absolute paradise. Our suite was on a hillside overlooking the bay and we had our own plunge pool, Jacuzzi bath and even had an outside shower. I was also lucky enough to have my birthday while we were there and Stuart surprised me with a romantic picnic on a secluded island, a couples´ massage and a candlelit dinner on the beach.
Ellis Bridal at Signature Brides
Nicki's Wedding Hair & Make-up
Girls of Elegance
Cake and favours
Ambience Venue Styling
Perfection Bridal & Menswear
Christopher Martin Photography
Steve's Wedding Automobiles
St. Augustine's Priory
Anneka Ireland Wedding Videography